Maytree News Headlines – March 25, 2011


Ethnicity, immigration, and becoming Canadian in Vancouver’s high schools (Vancouver Observer)
Immigrant and first-generation teens can’t define what it means to be Canadian. They turn to buzzwords like multiculturalism, tolerance and acceptance. Some say it’s a passport or a card. Some say it’s ancestral. Others just don’t know. But while they can’t always express it, they live it. In the wake of Macleans’ “Too Asian?”, Vancouver Observer and Schema Magazine asked 35 Vancouver teenagers in seven high schools how they see themselves and each other. This is first in the series. Students’ names have been changed.

Oh, Canada: Diverse but not inclusive (Hamilton Spectator)
We are becoming more diverse as a society. But we need to ask the question: Are we more inclusive? Sadly the answer is not one that we should be proud of. A recent report, Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market, finds that skin colour is a factor that determines one’s income in this country. The report released on the day marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination aims to highlight the need for Canadians to come face to face with the reality of discrimination and racism that still exist in our society.–oh-canada-diverse-but-not-inclusive

So just how valuable are our immigrants? (The Province)
At a massive Vancouver conference on immigration to Canada, University of B.C. economics professor David Green said what few participants expected to hear. “The net economic impact of immigration is in fact zero,” Green told the packed Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Wall Centre on Thursday. “I’m very pro-immigration, but not for economic reasons. If you’re looking at it to be a major driver of economic growth, I think you’re looking in the wrong place.”

A chance at something better (Calgary Sun)
The movie that plays in most temporary foreign workers’ mind vividly shows a happy, secure life in Canada. But the reality beyond that rainbow-coloured dream is grim, blurry and filled with uncertainty and devoid of guarantees. Still, thousands of foreign nationals chase their dreams, leaving their families behind, while they toil in a far away land, make money and send most of their earnings to their loved ones.

Canada needs foreign workers: Kenney (Calgary Sun)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says scrapping the program allowing Canadian businesses to import labour from abroad would punch a dent in the growth of the Canadian economy. “I can tell you, if we were to shut down the low-skilled temporary foreign workers program, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of businesses in the service sector that probably would have to go out of business,” said Kenney.

New rules to strengthen the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (CIC)
Temporary foreign workers will be better protected after new safeguards take effect April 1, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said today. Improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) will ensure that the program continues to be fair to employers and maintain its focus on alleviating temporary labour shortages.

Boardroom equity: are we there yet? (Montreal Gazette)
Better governance comes when women are on the board, studies show. But most Canadian corporations are dragging their heels.

Canada and New Zealand Partner to Tackle Immigration Fraud (
Canada’s efforts to combat immigration fraud have been strengthened following the signing of a new information-sharing initiative with New Zealand, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, announced today. “This initiative will help Canadian immigration authorities detect foreign criminals and previous deportees who are trying to re-enter Canada without permission,” said Minister Kenney. “Canada already has similar initiatives in place with the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, and we are pleased to expand this partnership to include New Zealand.”

Immigration regulator remains committed to consumer protection after government announces its replacement (CSIC)
The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) remains committed to consumer protection and is considering its options after Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced plans to transfer its regulatory authority to another group.

Immigration body slams government over new regulator plan (
CSIC Chairman Nigel Thomson said the government would waste $1 million of taxpayer’s money in setting up an alternative regulator and throw some $30 million in fees paid to CSIC by its members since 2004 down the drain. “We are saddened and surprised that the government has put more than 1,900 CSIC members, hundreds of students and 38 CSIC staff into limbo,” he said in a video address. “We question whether this decision is in the best interests of consumer protection or the profession.”

APTN Launches Multi-Platform Content Initiative, It’s Your Town (Mediacaster)
APTN has unveiled a new content initiative called It’s Your Town, designed to promote the diversity of Canada’s various communities. Whether it is a cultural or historical significance, an event, or even an interesting landscape, APTN wants to know what makes these towns unique.

Grow Canada? Multiculturalism, environmental policy and planning (Just Sustainabilities)
My question however, and what I’ve been thinking about on my sabbatical here in Vancouver, is as immigration is mainly responsible for helping grow Canada’s population, planners and policymakers face increasing challenges in creating functioning, multicultural cities. Just how is multiculturalism manifested in the nation’s environmental and sustainability policy and planning systems at federal, provincial and municipal government levels in substantive (i.e. non procedural) ways? In other words how have Canada’s environmental and sustainability policy and planning changed in substantive ways, since multiculturalism became official state policy?

2011 Diversity Procurement Fair (CAMSC)
This is a great opportunity to network, network, network! Join us on April 13th for an evening of music and relationship building. Engage with key diversity , purchasing and government peers, and innovative minority and aboriginal suppliers in a relaxed, informal setting.

William Blair, Toronto Police Department (DiversityJournal)
In March 2007, I committed to a three year project whereby the Toronto Police Service worked alongside the Ontario Human Rights Commission with the goal of identifying and eliminating discrimination in our employment practices and in our delivery of police services to the public. The project recently concluded, resulting in many positive changes for the Service and a legacy of greater awareness of, and commitment to, human rights issues. The Service has been awarded the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers award for three consecutive years: 2008, 2009 and 2010. This award recognizes employers that have exceptional workplace diversity and inclusion programs.

OCASI is inviting collaborators to pilot a wiki for the settlement sector of Ontario (SettlementAtWork)
To support information sharing, collaboration and professional development in the settlement sector of Ontario, the SettlementAtWork team is piloting a wiki with over 650 settlement-related articles. We invite you to join us and be involved with this pilot, giving us feedback and help develop it.

Federal Government’s New $10 Million International Education Initiative Lines Up with Loyalist Group Limited (Accesswire)
Loyalist Group Limited (“Loyalist” or the “Corporation”) (TSX Venture Exchange: LOY), is pleased to learn the federal government of Canada is developing and implementing an international education strategy with a declared budget of $10 million over two years. Promotional and advertising initiatives will be aimed at strengthening Canada’s representation in emerging economies where greater collaboration between Canadian and foreign educational institutions will reinforce Canada as a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research. The Corporation’s objective is to become a global leader, internationally recognized for expertise in English language skills training around the world. Loyalist’s operating subsidiary, McKinsey Education Group, is in the business of private education and provides services with emphasis on teaching: (i) English as a second language; (ii) professional development courses, as well as (iii) college transfer preparation courses; and (iv) online ESL training.

Vietnamese Canadian Centre Awarded Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism Grant (Marketwire)
“This grant ensures that the VCC is able to pursue activities in the areas of multiculturalism and diversity. The work of VCC and other community groups who help newcomers to integrate into Canada and promote intercultural understanding between all communities plays a key role in helping build a stronger Canada.”

YMCA’s immigrant service chosen as successor to scandal-plagued SISO (Hamilton Spectator)
Immigrant newcomers to Hamilton have a new first-contact agency to help kick-start their life in Canada – the YMCA. The agency has been chosen by Citizenship and Immigration Canada as the successor to the now-defunct Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO) as the first point of contact for newcomers to Hamilton. The new group will operate with 19 full time staff and four part-time workers. Ten of those 23 new staff will be settlement workers in schools.–ymca-s-immigrant-service-chosen-as-successor-to-scandal-plagued-siso

RBC Supports Diversity (SmartCity blog)
Last fall, I spoke at a conference for the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers over at Mount Saint Vincent University. They asked RBC to speak on the topic of diversity. It was a difficult topic to prepare for, simply for the fact that we have so many great things underway in our company right now in support of diversity. But when I reflected on it, there were two things that stood out in my mind. First, having a focus on diversity is clearly the right thing to do. Second, it’s a smart thing to do from a business standpoint.

Exploring Large Human Migrations In ‘Arrival City’ (NPR)
You’ve probably heard the statistics: Over the next two decades, the number of city-dwellers in Africa and Asia is expected to double. Rural populations will drop, and as people abandon the countryside, average birth rates and family size will fall accordingly. By 2050, the U.N. projects, the global population will peak at 9 billion, and that same year, more than 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Ours is an age of urbanization, but unlike previous booms, this one is unique: We’re currently living through the largest rural-to-urban migration that the world has ever known, or for that matter, is likely to see.


With no help in place, refugees pay too much for shelter (Vancouver Sun)
Ninety per cent of the more than 1,000 asylum seekers arriving each year in Metro Vancouver are on their own when it comes to finding a place to live, and many of those end up in housing that is too expensive for their incomes and below national standards for occupancy, experts say.

Canada to assist persecuted gay refugees (Toronto Star)
On the eve of a likely spring election, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced an unusual partnership with Canada’s queer community Thursday: a pilot project to help refugees persecuted for their sexual orientation. Through the project, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will work with the Rainbow Refugee Committee to share the cost of sponsoring gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual and bisexual refugees overseas to Canada.–canada-to-assist-persecuted-gay-refugees

On eve of election, Kenney finds $100k for gay refugees (
“We are very pleased to be working with the Rainbow Refugee Committee to help refugees who are in need of protection, particularly those who are persecuted because of their sexual orientation,” says Kenney in the press release. “By partnering with this organization and allowing Canadians to play a part in refugee protection, the private sponsorship program showcases grassroots support for this country’s international commitment to humanitarian action.” “We see it as a very important first step towards creating more meaningful protection for refugees overseas – and I emphasize a first step,” says Sharalyn Jordan of the RRC. RRC will work with groups in other cities, such as the Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto, to use the funds for private sponsorship of gay refugees. “The plan really is to work nationally.”

Western’s refugee program threatened (London Free Press)
The future of funding for a program that educates refugees at the University of Western Ontario has been thrown in doubt. The University Students Council announced Tuesday it had declared invalid the results of a referendum held March 15-16. Students were asked if they supported a 52-cent increase in student fees to fund the student refugee program at Western. The referendum passed with 67% of students voting in favour. After days of deliberations, the USC’s elections committee ruled in favour of campaigners against the referendum, who challenged the results on the grounds supporters of the referendum violated a key elections bylaw by campaigning after polls opened.

Last female migrant on MV Sun Sea released on bond (Globe and Mail)
At the Thursday hearing, the Canada Border Services Agency said the woman – who can’t be identified due to a publication ban – should remain in custody because she was a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a banned terrorist organization. CBSA said the woman completed training with the Tamil Tigers and was even given a cyanide capsule, though the border agency did not provide further details on the poison pill. It said a separate hearing will determine whether the woman is admissible to Canada, but warned she could be a flight risk. But Dean Pietrantonio, the woman’s duty counsel, said there was no evidence to suggest his client would go underground if released from custody. He said she was eager to see the refugee process through and has family ties to Canada – her uncle lives in Ontario.

Toronto Panel: Sexual Minority Refugee Issues – April 19 (Refugee Research Network)


Mandated Community Involvement: A Question of Equity (CEA)
Based on the assumption that all young people and their communities would benefit from students’ active participation in community endeavours, some Canadian provinces and US states have included community involvement activities graduation requirement. Debates continue over whether students should be “forced” to volunteer. Ontario’s 40-hour community involvement requirement is an interesting case study because of the level of autonomy it affords to students, who are free to choose how they will complete their community involvement hours. By contrast, most U.S. programs use a “service-learning” model, which focuses on furthering students’ understanding of social problems through community-based and classroom learning opportunities. A study involving 50 current and recently graduated Ontario secondary school students from widely divergent socio-economic settings found that, while students may donate equal amounts time, they do not have equal access to meaningful community involvement placements. Socio-economic status influences the time, resources and social networks available to students, and therefore the types of community involvement open to them.

Goar: A savvy but short-sighted political budget (Toronto Star)
Jim Flaherty’s sixth budget is a cleverly crafted political document. It has just enough restraint to convince fiscal hawks the Conservatives can tighten belts in Ottawa. It offers just enough help to low-income seniors, homeowners and middle-class families to exceed the low expectations the finance minister set. And it contains nothing to irritate Canadians who don’t care what’s going on in Ottawa.–goar-a-savvy-but-short-sighted-political-budget

Crusading social activist Dudley Laws dies (Globe and Mail)
For the better part of five decades, both in the United Kingdom and in Canada, Mr. Laws campaigned vigorously and fearlessly for human rights and reform of the criminal justice system, immigration, public housing, and policing policies. Among the many communal groups with which he was involved was the Black Action Defence Committee, which he co-founded in 1988 (with Charles Roach, Sherona Hall and Lennox Farrell), after several young black men had been shot by Toronto-area police. Mr. Laws served as its executive director.

When you’re poor, food is expensive (Victoria Times Colonist)
It seems the rich think that they can frown upon the poor when they’re the ones destroying the economy and sadly, the world. The giant gas-sucking vehicles they drive pollute the environment, while the rest of us commute on the bus. While you’re enjoying your fruits and veggies in your comfortable living room with the big TV on, I’m in a cramped apartment eating spaghetti and writing this letter. The next time you write an article about how poor kids shouldn’t eat junk food, step into my shoes for a day and then see what really is poisoning us.

Goar: Rookie Chris Alexander gets a taste of raw politics (Toronto Star)
It would be an exaggeration to say last week’s all-party debate on poverty, organized by the Community Development Council of Durham, Campaign 2000 and Make Poverty History, was a litmus test of voter sentiment. For most Canadians, poverty is not a top-of-mind campaign issue. But it did offer a glimpse of the talented Conservative rookie — young, eloquent, respected in Ottawa and abroad — tossed into the bear pit of raw politics.–goar-rookie-chris-alexander-gets-a-taste-of-raw-politics

Budget highlights hardships for many seniors (Calgary Herald)
Tuesday’s federal budget offered retirees little more than a pathetic handout, and only to the poorest of the poor. Rather than cast the government in a compassionate light, the move highlighted the hardship some Canadians find themselves in, at the time of their lives when things are supposed to become easier. What’s really needed is a hand up, by way of the promised yet undelivered pension reforms. Judging from the budget, which will become a policy document if an election is called Friday, overhauling the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) isn’t even on the Tory government’s agenda.

‘Made-in-Ontario’ housing plan needs real targets, timelines and inclusionary housing: Bill 140 submission (Wellesley Institute)
The Ontario Legislature should amend Bill 140 – draft legislation to ensure all Ontarians are adequately housed – to make sure that municipalities can create locally-appropriate inclusionary housing plans, and the bill should also be amended to require the provincial housing minister to develop a real housing plan for Ontario, with real targets, timelines and funding mechanisms. Those are the key recommendations in a submission that the Wellesley Institute’s Michael Shapcott gave to the Ontario Standing Committee on Justice Policy today as it reviewed the bill.


Watch our latest wage theft video – Wage Theft Video #2 – No Protection on the Job! (Workers’ Action Centre)
Over the last year, Workers’ Action Centre members have recorded their experiences at work. Watch Mohammed and Lillia tell their stories of unpaid wages and bounced cheques in our latest video.
“….unfortunately I was one of the unlucky ones to who the cheque bounced for. It was roughly $1200, considering I’m a student, I have loans to pay….this was something I was banking on to pay my tuition.”
“Last year I worked for a cleaning company for 6 months. When you arrive at this company, they tell you immediately that the pay is less than minimum wage. They ask you to have your own company in order to pay you.…this is the real problem and why they are paying less than the minimum wage.”
Mohammed and Lillia are still waiting to be paid. This is wage theft.

Minimum wage hike a cure-all? (BC LocalNews)
After a year-long application process, Abello arrived in Canada in February from the Philippines with his wife and two young sons to start a new life, one with seemingly limitless opportunities… He sees the just-announced rises in the minimum wage—$8.75 on May 1, $9.50 on Nov. 1 and $10.25 on May 1, 2012—as only a good thing. Unlike most minimum-wage earners, however, Abello has the advantage of having savings to draw on, a requirement of immigration. Others are not so lucky.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Transit, Neighbourhoods and Other News.

Unpacking the Creative City: Better is Better (Martin Prosperity Insights)
As guest editors of a recently published special issue of City, Culture and Society, Martin Prosperity Institute researchers Kevin Stolarick, Brian Hracs and Richard Florida brought together a series of papers that delve deeply into understanding ‘the creative city’ in order to move beyond a monolithic conceptualization. Each paper contributes new empirical evidence that nuances the specificity of cities, cultures, and societies. Using different disciplinary starting points and methods of enquiry to investigate different cases, locations, and scales, the papers in this special issue provide different pieces of the same puzzle. Drawing on approaches from Sociology, Urban Planning, and Economic Geography, each paper uses one or more specific cases as the grounding framework for a bigger and broader discussion. These range from looking at specific occupations and/or industries to various neighbourhood and regional development projects ranging from the micro to the mega. Discussions encompassing both formal and informal approaches and even a little ‘guerrilla’ public art are presented. More specifically, the cases are based on research in San Francisco, Berlin, Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles, Omaha, Montreal, and Vancouver.

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Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

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